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Ask Tito Mike by Michael Scott  

Invitation to Apply (ITA) and Express Entry

by Michael Scott

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has set a target of 110,770 skilled immigrant arrivals for 2024. The target surpasses the 83,000 who landed in 2023 and according to the Levels Plan will be followed by 117,500 in 2025 and 2026. It is time for potential skilled worker applicants to turn to the Federal Express Entry. The recent history of ITAs (Invitations to Apply) points to the targeting of category-based candidates and lowering CRS scores for consideration. IRCC can adjust its selection based upon national targets and preferred occupations.

The department announced that 3,750 ITA’s were issued on July 5, 2024, in a category-based selection for healthcare occupations. The candidates scored a minimum of 445 (CRS) points at assessment. This was the second batch of invitations under the category-base since the beginning of the month. 1,800 ITAs were issued to trade occupations on July 4, 2024, with a CRS score of 436. In two days, IRCC issued 5,550 under category specific along with a PNP invitation of 920 on July 2, with a CRS score of 739. The total of 6,000 plus is the highest number of monthly invitations to apply since April and be included in the yearly target.

Express Entry is a processing system that was introduced in 2015 as a way for IRCC to identify in-demand candidates and speed up their immigration to Canada. It is closely connected to the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) and the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP). Express Entry promised six-month processing and this target is still being used by IRCC. The Express Entry considers human capital factors such as age, education, work experience, occupation, language facility in English or French and occupational demand. There are several types of Express Entry draws including program-specific draws, category-specific draws and general draws. Potential candidates submit their profile or Expression of Interest (EOI) and are retained in a data base for one calendar year unless they are selected by an assessment score (CRS) and issued an Invitation to Apply (ITA).

In 2023, the federal immigration department introduced another refinement to the selection system according to category-based selection. The occupational areas targeted included: healthcare occupations; science, technology, engineering, and mathematics professions or STEM occupations; trade occupations, such as carpenters, plumbers and contractors; transport occupations; agriculture and agri-food occupations; and French language proficiency candidates. These draws are not program specific and often include lower than average CRS scores, when compared to general draws.

A summary of the Express Entry draws for the second quarter of 2024 give the reader a sense of IRCC recruitment of skilled worker candidates. On July 5, ITAs were issued to 3,750 healthcare occupations with a CRS of 445; on July 4, 2024, 1,800 trade occupations with CRS of 436; on July 2, 2024, 920 Province Nominee Program candidates with CRS of 730; PNP ITAs were issued on June 19, 2024, with 1,499 candidates with a CRS of 663; 3,000 ITA were issued under the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) on May 31, 2024, with a CRS of 522; and 2,985 ITAs were issued under PNP on May 30, 2024, with a CRS score of 676. The summary provides potential users with detailed information about Express Entry and how they might submit their Expressions of Interest.

If you fit the category-based pool, your chances of being selected are enhanced. Do your research and find out if you qualify under FSWP or FSTP. If you do, then Express Entry may be your best bet. The federal selection system is heating up and we can anticipate more activity leading up to the next federal election. The recruitment of needed skilled workers is important to the economic health of the country. The last provincial election was won and lost on the issue of health care and the importance of this occupational area is something we should not lose sight of.

Michael Scott is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC, R525678) who has 30 years of experience with Immigration Canada and the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program. He currently works as a licensed consultant with Immigration Connexion International Ltd. Contact him at 204-691-1166 or 204-227-0292. E-mail: